Legislature(2009 - 2010)

2009-02-25 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2009-02-25                     House Journal                      Page 0324
HB 154                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 154 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
    "An Act making supplemental appropriations and capital                                                                      
    appropriations; amending appropriations; and providing for an                                                               
    effective date."                                                                                                            
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                                                                  
A spreadsheet from the Office of the Governor, Office of Management                                                             
and Budget, entitled "Governor's FY2009 Economic Stimulus Bill"                                                                 
and spreadsheets from the Department of Transportation & Public                                                                 
Facilities entitled "Alaska Aviation Stimulus List" and "Alaska                                                                 
Highway and Bridge Stimulus List" accompanied the Governor's                                                                    
transmittal letter and are on file in the Chief Clerk's office.                                                                 
The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 24, 2009, follows:                                                             

2009-02-25                     House Journal                      Page 0325
"Dear Speaker Chenault:                                                                                                         
I am transmitting to you today a federal economic stimulus                                                                      
supplemental appropriation bill for Fiscal Year 2009.  This                                                                     
appropriation bill will provide $461.1 million in authorization for                                                             
aviation, transit, highway, and bridge projects under the American                                                              
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  The ARRA was                                                                     
signed into law on February 17, 2009.                                                                                           
The Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOTPF) has                                                                
worked closely with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),                                                                  
Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration                                                             
(FAA) to understand the requirements of the ARRA and be able to                                                                 
meet the accelerated timelines for receipt and expenditure of the funds.                                                        
For example, 50% of the funding under the FHWA program must be                                                                  
obligated within 120 days and the remaining must be fully obligated                                                             
within one year.                                                                                                                
In order to be eligible for funding, road and bridge projects must meet                                                         
all the requirements that are tied to federal funding and the new                                                               
requirements in the ARRA.  In addition, the ARRA imposes                                                                        
requirements that certain categories of projects, such as sidewalks,                                                            
bike paths, and waysides which qualify as "transportation                                                                       
enhancement" projects must be funded at set minimum amounts.  For                                                               
Alaska, this meant Congress required $5.2 million be spent on                                                                   
transportation enhancement.                                                                                                     
There are specific requirements for stimulus funding for roads and                                                              
bridges, such as 67% to be used on any highway or road; 19% for state                                                           
and local projects in communities with populations less than 5,000;                                                             
11% for projects in communities with populations greater than                                                                   
200,000; and 3% for transportation enhancement projects including                                                               
sidewalks, bike paths, and waysides.  The projects must also be in a                                                            
current State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) and DOTPF                                                                  
has proposed amendments to the STIP which is currently out for                                                                  
public comment.  The projects submitted for your consideration meet                                                             
the criteria and timelines in the federal law.                                                                                  
Aviation projects proposed for funding had to meet stringent FAA                                                                
eligibility requirements and are not in any priority order.  With                                                               
legislative authorization, the DOTPF will work with the FAA to                                                                  

2009-02-25                     House Journal                      Page 0326
receive the approval to move forward on projects that are currently                                                             
ready and a priority.  Additional authorization is requested in order to                                                        
ensure that Alaska will be able to utilize funding available for airport                                                        
projects that meet the goals of the FAA and the state.                                                                          
The supplemental bill requests $45.6 million for FAA approved                                                                   
projects, $9.1 million for transit projects, and $302.4 million for                                                             
FHWA projects, including $11.6 million of new regular federal funds.                                                            
A portion of the authorization is requested as contingency to ensure                                                            
Alaska would benefit from redistribution of funds from other states if                                                          
they are unable to meet the timing requirements.  Additionally, $115.7                                                          
million in fund source changes are requested to fund prior                                                                      
authorization for these projects with economic stimulus funds.  This                                                            
will simplify tracking of projects funded through federal economic                                                              
stimulus dollars.                                                                                                               
The ARRA requires rigorous tracking and reporting for expenditure of                                                            
stimulus dollars.  We are establishing a new federal fund source code                                                           
for economic stimulus funds.  DOTPF is working closely with their                                                               
funding partners to capture the funds and put Alaskans to work.  This                                                           
is a jobs bill.  We will create jobs and address needed Alaskan                                                                 
transportation infrastructure improvements with these funds.                                                                    
This appropriation is the first in a series of requests that will be                                                            
necessary for Alaska to participate in the federal economic stimulus                                                            
package.  I appreciate your consideration of this legislation.                                                                  
                              Sarah Palin